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 Report - National NGO Forum disclosed its annual activity for 2002 (NNF)

 Report date: 07.01.2003


December 27, 2002

National NGO Forum disclosed its annual activity for 2002

On December 27, 2002, Mr. Azay Guliyev, President of the NNF and Mr. Aydin Karimov, Chairman of Steering Committee of the NNF held a press conference on the "The present situation of the 3rd sector as of 2002". At the conference the president of the NNF gave information about situation of the 3rd sector and a work implemented by the NNF during this year. Below you may acquaint with this information.

Activity of the National NGO Forum for 2002.

Situation of the 3rd sector

At the present time 24 directions of activity of NGOs revealed in Azerbaijan.

Number of NGOs..1870
Registered. 1522
Number of NGOs in Baku.1553
Number of NGOs in Regions.317
Number of active NGOs400-500

Strongness of NGOs

According to the increasing of interest to NGOs in 2002, a lot of Community Based Organizations (CBO), NGOs and Initiative Groups were established. NGOs covered all general fields of activity in society. There were progresses in establishment and functioning of NGOs not only in Baku and as well as in all regions. Some work was done in direction of establishment of Inter-NGOs Coordination and Information Bodies, formation of Legislative basis. Also, the positive changes were gained in NGO-Government relations, and donors' support for the development of 3rd sector increased.

Weakness of NGOs

At the present time the inapplicable tax and tariffs are applying to NGOs. There is no some State Program for the development of the 3rd sector. A material and technical basis of NGOs are very weak. NGOs' possibilities to be engaged in fields of profit bring and attainment of financial sources is limited. Community has not enough information about NGOs. Circle of interests between NGO and Mass Media relations are not defined. The needs in improvement of priority directions for the development of the 3rd sector from the donors' part are not removed.

NGOs took part in preparation of the Program on Poverty Reduction.

In 2002, NGOs took an active part in preparation of the State Program on Poverty Reduction. NGOs were attracted to the preparation of the State Program on Poverty Reduction in 15 fields and some ideas and proposals given by them were taken into consideration.

Registration process of NGOs was not resolved this year.

NGOs' Legislative Basis is contrasted and does not meet to the existing demands. Artificial obstacles during registration process last up to present time, despite to negotiations, round tables etc. with State bodies on solution of this problem. On September, during NGOs Monthly Meeting Mr. Ali Hasanov, Chief of Social-Political Department of the Presidents' Office noted that NGOs' registration process would be resolved on October. On December, Mr. Latif Huseynov, Chief of Department on Constitutional Law of the Milli Mijlis promised that a new law on NGOs' registration process will be accepted in winter session of the Milli Mejlis. Unfortunately, NGOs' registration process is still delayed.

Activity of the National NGO Forum for 2002.

The National NGO Forum (NNF) was established in June 1999, by 95 NGOs. At the present time a number of members of the NNF make up 390 NGOs. 170 of them are not registered. In 2002, 90 NGOs were accepted to the NNF's membership. All organizations are united in four principles on the voluntary basis:

  1. Not interfere in the internal affairs of organization
  2. To keep voluntary principles
  3. Democratic management
  4. Equal right principles
Objectives of the NNF; development of democracy in Azerbaijan, creation of an open society, to help link national NGOs with government and assist in development of civil society in Azerbaijan. The NNF has a data bank of 550 NGOs functioning in Azerbaijan. The State Organizations attract NGOs to implementation of various State Programs by means of the NNF.

15 Sectors of the NNF

On February 20, a decision on establishment of 15 sectors was made at the session of Steering Committee of the NNF. These 15 Sectors were divided as follow:

01. Education;
02. Economy;
03. Culture;
04. Health;
05. Youth;
06. Gender;
07. Peace & Democracy;
08. Deported People, refugees & IDPs;
09. Children;
10. Charity;
11. Ecology;
12. Media & Information;
13. National Relations;
14. Municipality;
15. Social;

On April-May, presentation-seminars of these sectors were held at Hyatt Regency Hotel. At the end, a final report on the basis of materials of these seminars was prepared and published. On August, computer center with Internet access was opened for these sectors in the NNF's office. Information about the work of the sectors, activity of NGOs were given out for the community through Monthly "NGO Bulletin" and "The 3rd sector" TV Program broadcasted on "AzTV 1" and "Space" TV Companies. For one year 28 TV program were broadcasted and 12 Monthly "NGO Bulletin"s were published.

In 2002, NGO movement in regions was successful.

In the framework of the "Regional NGO Promotion Program", 5 Regional NGO Resource and Training Centers (R-NRTC) were established in the Republic (Ali Bayramli, Mingachevir, Shamkir, Gabala, Guba). An activity of NGOs in 53 regions is coordinated by means of these centers. NNF's Coordination Centers are acting in each of these regions. With an assistance of regional coordinators a "Regional Profile" with complete information about regional NGOs was prepared by R-NRTCs. Information about more than 300 independent and 700 branches of central organizations was collected by them. As a result of an activity of the NNF in the regions and its technical assistance, more than 100 NGOs were established at the local level.
NNF coordinates an activity more than 1000 NGOs in the regions. In 2002, 808 trainings, 1185 technical services, 1736 consultations and 260 meetings with participation of NGOs were conducted by R-NRTCs. During this year 11578 men used services of R-NRTCs all over the regions. On August 2002, NNF's Coordination Center was established in Nakhchivan.

Relations with the Mass Media

On January, "The Council on relations with the Mass Media" was established by the NNF. Since June 2002, NNF began to implementation of the project "Establishment of relations between the mass media and NGOs working with refugees and IDPs". During 6 months, 6 seminars were conducted within the frame of this project. On August, NNF held a meeting in Ismayilli and Gabala regions with participation of NNF's Sectors Coordinators and representatives of the Mss Media in the frame of "NGO-Mass Media relations" project. During this project representatives of the Mss Media and NNF's Sectors acquainted with work of Regional Centers and Local NGOs and discussed the forms of joint collaboration. On November, NNF distributed a declaration about a pressure upon the mass media. On December 6, members of Editors Union and NGO representatives held a meeting at the NNF's office. The main purpose in conducting of this meeting was a discussion of participation of NGOs at the protest meeting of the journalists on December 12, and NGOs took part in it. During this year, approximately 1000 articles about NNF's activity were published in the press.

Activity of NGOs related to amendments to the Grant Law.

NNF held its regular monthly inter-agency meeting of NGOs on May 2002 in connection with the amendments to the Grant Law with participation of 200 representatives of NGOs. Representatives of Donor, International organizations and foreign embassies proposed to NNF to appeal to the Country President. NGO representatives expressed their objections to the amendments to the Grant Law during a discussion of the bill on 'State Registration and Register of the Legal Entities' by the Constitutional Right Department of Milli Mejlis and Parliamentary Commission for State Creation and Legal Policy. According to it, NNF accepts an appeal to Mr. Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan. During 15 seminars of the NNF's Sectors objections to the Grant law were made. The work group on work with the mass media held a press conference with the participation of Editors Union and NGO representatives in 'Ayna' Press House. National NGOs held a roundtable in Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 3, 2002 in connection with the changes to the Grant Law. The roundtable was financed by the Eurasia Foundation. The struggle of the NNF and all NGOs functioning in Azerbaijan gave its positive results.

In the meeting held between Mr. Marco Borsotti, UN Resident Representative in Azerbaijan and Mr. Ramiz Mehdiyev, Chief of the Azeri President's Executive Office, on 17 June 2002, the latter mentioned the President did not sign the changes to the Grant Law.

NGOs may be attracted to the Social Insurance

While discussing the state budget for 2003 fiscal year at the Milli Mejlis, the draft proposing amendments to and changing of some legislature of Azerbaijan Republic had been discussed.
The Paragraph 25 of the Draft proposed to make changes in the Article 5 of the Law on Grants of AR by adding the third paragraph to it which would read as following "As mentioned at the present law the money received as grants should be subject to the compulsory state social insurance and be regulated by the Law on State Insurance." It is well known that at present the NGO Sector in Azerbaijan depends on allocated money in the from of grants. In case if the cost of the state insurance is added to the projects applying for grants, then these projects will be more expensive. For instance, if 50% of a project's budget is allocated for salaries then this project will be more expensive for about 15%. It may have double effect, from one hand it may evoke discontent of grant issuing entities resulting in the reduction of grants allocation into the country, from the other hand it may reduce the amount of salaries paid through the grants resulting in the reduction of the number of experts and professionals working in this sector. According to it NNF once again applied to Mr. Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan.

2002 was a year of Public Support for the BTC.

On July, NNF held a round table on the "Attitude of NGOs to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline". At the round table 64 NGOs from 37 countries of the Europe and America discussed a begun campaign against financing of the BTC. NGOs underlined a public support for the BTC. On November 1, NNF held a round table on the "The importance of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline for Azerbaijan from the point of authority and development". The establishment of the International NGO Support Coalition for the BTC was decided. On November 11, the final Memorandum on the Coalition was signed and presented for the community. At the present time more than 200 NGOs joined to the Coalition.
On November 22, NNF held its Monthly Meeting of NGOs at Hotel Europe. The meeting was dedicated to the BP's Strategy for Economic Development and Poverty Reduction in Azerbaijan. Making a speech at the meeting, Mr. David Woodward, BP president expressed his opinion on poverty reduction in the country.

Diaspora activity of the NNF

NNF Diaspora Center held seminars on "Azerbaijani Diaspora - the future responsibilities in the direction of lobbyism" and "Past and Present of Azerbaijani Diaspora", a round table with participation of Diaspora organizations of the NNF, and a press conference dedicated to Diaspora problems at Baku Press Club. Also, a press conference on preparation to an Assembly of World and Turkish Businessmen in Baku was held. The organizations and friendship societies involved to the Diaspora issues signed an agreement on joint cooperation. To familiarize with Diaspora issues locally, members of the Diaspora center were delegated to Tallin, Novosobirsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Saint Petersburg and Moscow and also took part in 6th Assembly of World Azerbaijani Congress in Holland.

Court Trial of NGOs went on this year

NNF tries to protect the rights of its members in front of state bodies, donors and other third parties and organizations. Some work was done on the way of court trial of NGOs and resolving of registration problems. A court trial of NGOs with the Ministry of Communications (MC) started on October 2001, lasted up to 2002 and it should be reminded that a court connected with Internet censorship of the MC.

# Themes Amount (US$) Execution Period Donor
1. Support to a Few Activities of NNF 6,000 Jan02-June02 NRTC/UNDP
2. TV Program 4,500 Jan02-June02 NRTC/UNDP
3. NGO Bulletin 3,180 Jan02-June02 NRTC/UNDP
4. Monthly Inter Agency Meeting 2,340 Jan02-June02 NRTC/UNDP
5. Support to a Few Activities of NNF 6,780 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
6. TV Program 4,500 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
7. NGO Bulletin 3,180 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
8. Monthly Inter Agency Meeting 2,670 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
9. Support to R-NRTC 24,696 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
10. Support to Sectors 2,134 June02-Jan03 NRTC/UNDP
11. Help to NGOs working with media, refugees and IDPs. 8,968 June02-Nov02 UNHCR
12. Monitoring among the Afghan & Russian Federation refugees 2,900 March02-May02 UNHCR
13. Increasing of initiatives of NGOs in legislative regulation of financing of 3rd sector 2,805 June02 Eurasia Foundation
14. The role of NGOs in preparation of the country report according to drug addiction 1,600 December02 UNDP
15. Current situation of registration of NGOs 1,420 December02 Eurasia Foundation

TOTAL: $77, 673

The independence of the NNF coordinating an activity of NGOs in period of creation of new public relations, plenty of problems in transition period, incompletely formatted democratic management and traditions, just established and weak 3rd sector needs a lot of serious efforts. There are those who think that NGOs are a power, which against of the government and try to use them as a political tool even at present time. Also, tendencies to political activity of NGOs could be seen. In current situation transparent and democratic management is an important condition of independence. In its activity, NNF follows to these principles.

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